This is the ninth blog in our election integrity series.
In his article, “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?” Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says:
After carefully examining the evidence, I’ve become convinced that the president’s party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004. Across the country, Republican election officials and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to fix the election. A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004– more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes.
Dennis Kucinich, who served as U.S. Representative from Ohio from 1997 to 2013, says,
The secretary of state is supposed to administer elections — not throw them…The election in Ohio in 2004 stands out as an example of how, under color of law, a state election official can frustrate the exercise of the right to vote.
John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary committee at the time, conducted an extensive investigation, which was published in book form: What Went Wrong in Ohio: The Conyers Report on the 2004 Presidential Election. Conyers and his committee’s minority staff held public hearings in Ohio, and concluded:
In many cases these irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.
Just as Florida had decided the 2000 election, Ohio with its 20 electoral votes was the state that decided the election for George W. Bush in 2004. John Kenneth “Ken” Blackwell was Secretary of State of Ohio from 1999 to 2007 and, just as Secretary of State Katherine Harris had also been a co-chair of the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign in Florida, Blackwell was also co-chair of the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio. As secretary of state, Blackwell had the power to interpret and implement state and federal election laws, setting standards for everything from registration to recounts. In addition, Blackwell had served as an election expert in the Florida 2000 campaign, and had become educated about the tactics used there, which he then was able to apply to Ohio in 2004. Every significant decision he made about the election benefited George W. Bush. In a ruling issued two weeks before the election, a federal judge rebuked Blackwell for seeking to ”accomplish the same result in Ohio in 2004 that occurred in Florida in 2000.”
Blackwell, an African-American, has expressed extreme political and religious views similar to those of Katherine Harris. An outspoken leader of Ohio’s right-wing fundamentalists, he spearheaded Ohio’s anti-gay marriage amendment and supported banning all abortions, even in cases of rape or to save the life of the mother. He referred to Planned Parenthood as the “moral descendants of Nazi Dr. Mengele.” In 2007, Blackwell was appointed a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, which is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBTQ hate group. He is on the boards of the National Rifle Association and the right-wing Club for Growth. He posted a picture of himself addressing the white supremacist ultra-right Council for National Policy (CNP), although he later removed the picture and all mention of the highly secretive CNP from his website. He is opposed to the separation of church and state, saying: ” I’ve watched for the last 40 years as cultural forces have attempted to run God and religion out of the public square and this runs contrary to this nation’s Godly heritage.”
Unfortunately, Blackwell’s public career is not over. He no longer holds political office, but he is a political activist, author, and media contributor with a history of pushing fake news and right-wing conspiracy theories, such as the following:
- In a 2009 column, Blackwell compared same-sex marriage to incest. He also bizarrely suggested that transgender and bisexual individuals would use same-sex marriage laws to demand participation in polygamous marriages: “Remember, we’ve all been schooled in that LGBT formulation. That means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered. The advocates of counterfeiting marriage cannot leave out their B and T. So, what will that mean? How can they deny ‘marriage equality’ to a bisexual person who wants to marry two significant others? Or what about a person who has attempted through surgery and drugs to change his sex? Should such a person, if married, be denied the right to marry another person? If love and commitment make a marriage, why cannot brothers and sisters marry? Or fathers and daughters? What the District [of Columbia] Council has done is to open the door to polygamy, to incest.”
- Also in 2009 Blackwell warned that alarmism over climate change could lead to forced abortions in the United States similar to those caused by China’s one child policy and suggested that the U.S. could bury rather than incinerate “the bodies of unborn children who have been aborted under Mr. Obama’s health care takeover” as “a small contribution to lowering temperatures.”
- In a 2010 column, Blackwell called Attorney General Eric Holder a “dhimmicrat,” which he defined as “a person who, while not Muslim himself, nonetheless clears the path for shariah law to be adopted and incorporated into otherwise free nations.”
- Blackwell wrote in 2010 that ending the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy could cause a “health crisis into the ranks of our volunteer military” because of the “Gay Men’s Health Crisis.” He also bizarrely posited that the Obama administration would order the military “to recruit gays by quota” and wondered “if sufficient new recruits cannot be attracted to the Obama military, will this administration bring back the draft?”
Blackwell is also known for a losing 2006 Senate bid where he claimed that his Democratic opponent Ted Strickland was a supporter of the North American Man/Boy Love Association.
In 2015, he marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day by claiming that Dr. King was an opponent of government involvement in the economy, even though King supported guaranteed employment and minimum income, public works projects and policies advancing “democratic socialism.” He also falsely claimed that Dr. King opposed the separation of church and state, even though King actually spoke out against endeavors such as state-sponsored prayer in public schools.
Blackwell was domestic policy advisor for the Trump transition team in 2016, and a member of Trump’s now-defunct Commission on Election Integrity. As discussed in a previous blog, the real aim of the Commission was to suppress the Democratic vote.
Currently, Blackwell has launched Defend US PAC, a super PAC which will spend money to support Ohio candidates who embrace the Trump-evangelical agenda. A super PAC can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money.
In a system rife with evidence of partisan voter suppression and the use of “black box” voting equipment that can’t be audited, we badly need a way to check our elections to see if they are fair. One method that is commonly used around the world is exit polling.
When done correctly, exit polls are very reliable. This is because, unlike pre-election polling, in which potential voters are asked how they plan to vote in the future, exit polls are conducted immediately after the voter has actually cast her ballot. Depending on the type of election equipment and other factors, the margin of error, or the amount that is allowed for miscalculation or other inaccuracies, is usually less than 3%. In countries that use hand-counted paper ballots, such as Germany and Switzerland, exit polls are highly accurate, with a margin of error of less than 1%.
As part of its democracy assistance programs, the United States has funded organizations to sponsor exit polls in Afghanistan (2004), Ukraine (2004), Azerbaijan (2005), Macedonia (2005), the West Bank and Gaza Strip (2005), Lebanon (2005), Kazakhstan (2005), Kenya (2005, 2007), Bangladesh (2009), and elsewhere. In some cases, exit polls have been used to validate or invalidate elections; examples are Mexico in 2000, the Republic of Georgia in 2003, and Ukraine in 2004. In Mexico, the exit polls were used to verify the vote count that that resulted in the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) losing its first presidential election in 75 years. In the Republic of Georgia, vote tampering revealed by exit polling forced Eduard Shevardnadze to step down. In Ukraine, discrepancies between the exit polls and the vote count were used to show that the vote count had been manipulated, and the election was overturned. In most places, when there is a discrepancy between the exit polls and the vote count, the exit polls are considered to be the more accurate. In the United States, however, the opposite occurs; when there is a discrepancy, the exit poll results are “corrected” to make them match the vote count.
Exit polling is done in two stages. Before the election, pollsters select sample precincts that mirror as closely as possible the characteristics of the voters in the state. If done properly, the sample will match the proportion of voters in the state on characteristics such as age, race, income level, and urban-suburban-rural distribution.
On Election Day, one or two interviewers show up at the polls in each selected precinct. During the entire time the polls are open, the interviewers select voters at specified intervals, such as every third or fifth person leaving the polls, so that they reach a total of about 100 voters spread out evenly in each selected precinct during the day. Participation is anonymous and voluntary; each selected voter receives a questionnaire asking for demographic information such as age, gender, race, religion, and income; who they voted for; political leanings, and views on selected issues. Voters fill out the questionnaires privately and drop them in a “ballot box” so their responses remain secret. For each voter who refuses to participate, the interviewers record their demographic data so they can make corrections for skewed data; for example if more women respond than men, they can make statistical corrections. In addition to voters who go to the polls, representative samples of early and absentee voters are surveyed by telephone.
Exit polling began in the 1960s and generally performed well. There was no serious controversy about their fairness until the 2000 election. In 2000, twelve states mysteriously flipped from Gore in the exit polls to Bush in the recorded vote: AL, AR, AZ, CO, FL, GA, MO, NC, NV, TN, TX, VA. If Gore had won even one of those states, he would have been president instead of Bush.
In 2004, the exit polling was carried out by the National Election Pool (NEP), which is a consortium consisting of news organizations ABC, AP, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and NBC. NEP contracted with two polling organizations to conduct the exit polls: Edison Media Research, run by Joe Lenski, and Mitofsky International, run by Warren Mitofsky. Fifty state exit polls were conducted on Election Day in 1,480 precincts, with participation by 114, 559 voters. Pollsters also created a subsample of 11,719 Election Day voters along with 500 absentee and early voters to represent the nation as a whole.
The 2004 exit poll had all the ingredients for fairness: unlike the variety of flawed voting equipment used in different precincts—optical scanners that may or may not read ballots, electronic touch-screen machines that may or may not record votes for the correct candidates—the exit polls used uniform technology that promoted accuracy. The exit poll was well-funded; it represented the entire political spectrum; and it was conducted by experienced pollsters.
On election night 2004, the NEP poll showed Kerry winning both in Ohio and nationwide. In Ohio, the NEP sample gave Kerry 52.1% of the vote and Bush 47.9% according to a time-stamped screen shot from CNN.com at 12:21 AM on November 3. A screen shot of the national NEP totals taken at 12:23 AM showed Kerry with 50.8% and Bush with 48.2%. Steven Freeman and Joel Bleifuss in their 2006 book, Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count analyze the data and find that the shift from exit poll projections for Kerry to vote count results for Bush in Ohio and nine other battleground states (FL, IA, MI, MN, NE, NH, NM, and PA) are too large to be statistically possible. CNN quickly removed the unadjusted data from their website, and the NEP refused to release it. The only data made available has been adjusted to conform to the vote counts. In December, 2004, John Conyers, who was the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee at the time, asked Warren Mitofsky to release the raw precinct data. Mitofsky replied that “the data are proprietary and I am not at liberty to release them.”
Kerry conceded the election, and the NEP news organizations gave evidence-free “explanations” for the discrepancy, such as the idea that more Kerry voters than Bush voters were willing to complete the exit poll questionnaires. The only people who remained interested in pursuing the matter were academics and statisticians. For example, Jonathan D. Simon, J.D. co-founder of Election Defense Alliance (EDA) and author of Code Red: Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century, and Ron P. Baiman, Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, found that:
Several methods have been used to estimate the probability that the national exit poll results would be as different as they were from the national popular vote by random chance. These estimates range from 1 in 16.5 million to 1 in 1,240. No matter how one calculates it, the discrepancy cannot be attributed to chance.
According to Simon and Baiman, there are three possible explanations for the discrepancy: “random error, a skewed exit poll, or breakdown in the fairness of the voting process and accuracy of the vote count.” They were able to rule out the first two explanations, and they concluded that: “Widespread breakdown in the fairness of the voting process and accuracy of the vote count are the most likely explanations for the discrepancy. In an accurate count of a free and fair election, the strong likelihood is that Kerry would have been the winner of the popular vote.”
NEP director Warren Mikofsky does not claim there was no fraud in the vote counts; he only says that the exit polls don’t prove fraud. The reason for this is that the NEP refuses to release the raw data that could prove or disprove the integrity of the election.
The Election Defense Alliance (EDA) is a nonprofit organization specializing in election forensics. Along with a coalition of independent statisticians, they have compared decades of computer-vote results to exit polls, tracking polls, and hand counts. Their findings show that when disparities occur, they benefit Republicans far beyond the bounds of probability. “We approach electoral integrity with a nonpartisan goal of transparency,” says EDA executive director Jonathan Simon. “But there is nothing nonpartisan about the patterns we keep finding.” Simon’s verdict is confirmed by David Moore, a former vice president and managing editor of Gallup: “What the exit polls have consistently shown is stronger Democratic support than the election results.” Moore believes that the whole issue could be resolved if the NEP would make the raw, unadjusted, precinct-level data available to the public. “Our great, free, and open media are concealing data so that it cannot be analyzed,” Moore charges.
Tactics for stealing the election
As analyzed in The Conyers Report and elsewhere, the 2004 election was subverted by a multi-pronged approach, using some of the same techniques that were used in Florida in 2000, and some that were more sophisticated.
Barriers to voter registration
In the months before the 2004 election, Ohio had its biggest registration drive ever, and it appeared that Democratic registrations were far outpacing GOP ones. A New York Times analysis showed new registrations in Democratic parts of the state up 250%, as opposed to only 25% in Republican areas.
In order to prevent the new registrants from voting, Blackwell announced on September 7th, less than a month before the October 4th registration deadline, that election officials would process registration forms only if they were printed on eighty-pound unwaxed white paper stock. Valid registration forms on any other paper would be treated as if they were applications for registration forms, which would be sent by mail. Registration forms that had been printed in the pages of local newspapers were now invalid. Delaware County could no longer accept its own registration forms, and even Blackwell’s own staff had distributed registration forms on paper that was now illegal.
Blackwell’s directive was in violation of the Voting Rights Act (subsequently gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013), which stipulated that no one may be denied the right to vote because of a registration error that ”is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified under state law to vote.” Under the threat of legal action, Blackwell recinded his order on September 28th. However, since this was only six days before the registration deadline, the damage was already done. Understaffed Ohio election boards were unable to process the registrations by the deadline. Statistical analysis by the nonpartisan Greater Cleveland Voter Coalition concluded that 72,000 Ohio voters were disenfranchised this way.
Blackwell was also charged with violating the rights of thousands of low-income Ohio citizens by failing to provide voter registration opportunities in public assistance offices as required by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993. The NVRA is known as the Motor-Voter law because states are required to provide opportunities for voter registration when clients apply for drivers’ licenses. The NVRA requires that registration opportunities also be offered at public assistance offices because low-income citizens are less likely to own cars. Only 68% of Ohio residents in households making less than $15,000 per year were registered to vote, as compared to 92% of residents in households making $75,000 or more. In 2006, a federal lawsuit was brought against Blackwell and the Director of Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS) for failing to enforce the requirements of the NVRA. Ohio’s own statistics for the period 2002-2004 indicate that all of Ohio’s DJFS offices together registered less than one-half of one percent of the number of people who applied for or sought recertification of Food Stamps benefits.
Additional roadblocks to voter registration were engineered by other partisan election officials. For example, the top election official in Toledo was Bernadette Noe, who also chaired both the county board of elections and the county Republican party. The Republican post had been previously held by her husband, Tom Noe, who faced felony charges for embezzling state money and laundering money for the Bush campaign.
Bernadette Noe decided that mail-in cards, which came mostly from Republican suburbs, would be processed first. Registrations that were dropped off at the office, which came mostly from Democratic voter registration drives, would be processed last. With less than a month before the deadline, Noe still had 20,000 unprocessed cards. A grass-roots group called Project Vote reported that when they delivered a batch of nearly 10,000 cards just before the October 4th deadline, an elections official casually remarked, ”We may not get to them.” The same official instructed employees to date-stamp an entire box containing thousands of forms, rather than marking each individual card, as required by law, so that when the box was opened, officials had no way to confirm that the forms were filed prior to the deadline. State inspectors concluded that this error alone could have disenfranchised ”several thousand” voters from Democratic areas.
Noe allowed Republican operatives to make photocopies of postcards sent to confirm voter registrations; this information was likely used in GOP caging efforts (described later). These same operatives were caught by an elections official tampering with the documents. Investigators slammed the elections board for ”a series of egregious blunders” that caused ”the destruction, mutilation and damage of public records.” On Election Day, Noe sent a team of Republican volunteers to the county warehouse where blank ballots were kept out in the open, ”with no security measures in place.” When the state’s assistant director of elections demanded they leave, they refused and ultimately had to be sent away by police.
At a ”Victory 2004” rally held in Toledo four days before the election, President Bush singled out a pair of ”grass-roots” activists for special praise: ”I want to thank my friends Bernadette Noe and Tom Noe for their leadership in Lucas County.” In April 2005, Noe and the entire Board of Elections were forced to resign, but this was long after the damage was done.
One of the most effective ways to remove large numbers of Democratic voters is by purging the voter rolls, a technique that had been used in Florida in 2000, among other places. Leading up to the 2004 election in Ohio, Blackwell targeted voters who had not voted in the previous 2-year period, sending them a postcard in the mail. If the notice was not returned by the voter, and if she did not vote in a federal election in the next four years, she was removed from the voter rolls under the assumption that she had moved to a different county. It is legitimate to remove voters who actually did move to a different county, who are then required to re-register. However, Census Bureau data shows that only about 3% of Ohioans move across county lines each year. And about 80% of those who are sent notices asking them to confirm whether they have moved never respond, even though most of them remain at the same address. The result is that Ohio purged thousands of voters, many of whom had not moved and who were still fully eligible to vote. Many of them showed up at the polls on Election Day only to find that they were not on the rolls. They could re-register, but it was too late to vote in the 2004 election because Ohio requires voters to register at least 30 days in advance.
Furthermore, the purges disproportionately affected low-income and minority voters, who have turnout rates that are lower than average. A Reuters analysis found that, in Ohio’s five largest counties, residents of predominantly African-American neighborhoods were about twice as likely to be purged as were residents of predominantly white neighborhoods.
Although purging of voters who have died or moved is legitimate, federal laws such as the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) and the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) prohibit states from removing voters solely for voting inactivity. The right to vote includes the right not to vote. Nevertheless, Blackwell, with the help of partisan county election officials, reportedly ended up by purging more than 300,000 voters in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo. Bush won the Ohio election by 118, 607 votes.
Long after Blackwell left office, in 2015, Ohio resident Larry Harmon was purged from the rolls. A lawsuit was subsequently filed in April, 2016 against Jon A, Husted, who was Ohio’s Republican secretary of state at the time, by the A. Philip Randolph Institute, a labor and civil rights group. The federal district court granted a preliminary injunction, halting Ohio’s purging until the November 2016 election. In September 2016, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled against Ohio’s practice as a violation of the NVRA, and more than 7,500 voters who had already been purged regained their right to vote. Husted challenged the ruling, and the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on January 10, 2018. A decision is pending.
Freda Levenson, Legal Director for the ACLU of Ohio, said:
Ohio’s purge of eligible voters has served as a powerful mechanism of voter suppression. Ohio has purged hundreds of thousands of people from the voter rolls simply because they have exercised their right not to vote in a few elections. This purge process violates the National Voter Registration Act. We are confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the correct decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and will ultimately ensure that eligible Ohio voters may not be stricken from the rolls.
The Department of Justice has historically maintained that these kinds of purges are illegal, and it has enforced the NVRA in other states and counties, requiring them to stop using processes like Ohio’s. However, after the election of Trump in 2016, the DOJ changed its position. It appears that the DOJ is now moving away from its mission of protecting voters and instead helping to pave the way for states to adopt more restrictive voting practices.
In 2016, according to the Election Assistance Commission, more than 70 million registered voters didn’t vote. That’s more than a third of all registered voters in the United States. A SCOTUS ruling in favor of Husted could disenfranchise many millions of those voters. Other states would likely follow Ohio’s lead and increase their own purges. The purges mostly work to the advantage of Republicans, but we also saw one affecting the 2016 Democratic primaries. In October 2016, a lawsuit forced the New York City Board of Elections to admit that it had broken state and federal laws by removing more than 200,000 voters from the city rolls before the presidential primary. This purge had the effect of benefiting Hillary Clinton at the expense of Bernie Sanders.
Each of the 50 states has its own laws regarding felon voting. Compared to some states, Ohio is relatively permissive. Felons can vote in Ohio after they are released from prison, even while they are on probation or parole. Since most of them vote Democratic, Republicans worked hard to disenfranchise them. The following is quoted from John F. Kennedy, Jr.’s Was the 2004 Election Stolen?
Republicans in Ohio also worked to deny the vote to citizens who had served jail time for felonies. Although rehabilitated prisoners are entitled to vote in Ohio, election officials in Cincinnati demanded that former convicts get a judge to sign off before they could register to vote. In case they didn’t get the message, Republican operatives turned to intimidation. According to the Conyers report, a team of twenty-five GOP volunteers calling themselves the Mighty Texas Strike Force holed up at the Holiday Inn in Columbus a day before the election, around the corner from the headquarters of the Ohio Republican Party — which paid for their hotel rooms. The men were overheard by a hotel worker ”using pay phones to make intimidating calls to likely voters” and threatening former convicts with jail time if they tried to cast ballots.
This was no freelance operation. The Strike Force — an offshoot of the Republican National Committee– was part of a team of more than 1,500 volunteers from Texas who were deployed to battleground states, usually in teams of ten. Their leader was Pat Oxford, a Houston lawyer who managed Bush’s legal defense team in 2000 in Florida, where he warmly praised the efforts of a mob that stormed the Miami-Dade County election offices and halted the recount. It was later revealed that those involved in the ”Brooks Brothers Riot” were not angry Floridians but paid GOP staffers, many of them flown in from out of state. Photos of the protest show that one of the ”rioters” was Joel Kaplan, who has just taken the place of Karl Rove at the White House, where he now directs the president’s policy operations.
A 2004 study by the Prison Reform Advocacy Center found that an Ohio ex-offender’s right to vote likely depended on where in the state he lived. Even though former prisoners were allowed to vote statewide, some county Boards of Elections gave information that was inaccurate or misleading. As a result, a significant portion of released prisoners, including 43% in Hamilton County, falsely believed they were ineligible to vote while on probation or parole. The study went on to stress that Ohio was identified as a key battleground state and felon voting could possibly change the election outcome.
According to Robert F. Kennedy Jr., during the summer of 2004 the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Republican party used caging to reduce the numbers of likely Democratic voters on the rolls. They targeted more than 200,000 newly registered minority voters by zip code, sending them registered letters. The plan was to invalidate the registrations of the 35,427 voters who refused to sign for the letters or whose letters were returned as undeliverable.
Some of the voters might have moved; more than 1000 were homeless with no permanent address; some were college students whose home address differed from their school address; and some were temporarily away serving in the U.S. military. There were many legitimate reasons for not signing for mail, but the GOP claimed that undeliverable mail proved the new registrations were fraudulent. The law required that each voter receive a hearing before being stricken from the rolls, but at Blackwell’s direction, notices of hearings were sent out too late, and kangaroo courts were set up a week before the election to disenfranchise thousands of voters at a time. Furthermore, Sandusky County sent intimidating sheriff’s detectives to the homes of challenged voters to investigate for fraud. ”I’m afraid this is going to scare these people half to death, and they are never going to show up on Election Day,” Barb Tuckerman, director of the Sandusky Board of Elections, told local reporters. ”Many of them are young people who have registered for the first time. I’ve called some of these people, and they are perfectly legitimate.”
On October 27th, a U.S. District judge stopped the GOP challenge, ruling that it likely violated both the ”constitutional right to due process and constitutional right to vote.” However, tens of thousands of newly registered voters had already received notices that they were improperly registered. In Columbus and some other districts, voters were never notified that they were now eligible to vote. Some election officials defied the ruling and illegally stripped the voters from the rolls.
On October 29th, a federal judge found that the Republican Party had violated court orders from the 1980s that made caging illegal. ”The return of mail does not implicate fraud,” according to the court. Furthermore, the caging scheme illegally targeted ”precincts where minority voters predominate, interfering with and discouraging voters from voting in those districts.” It should be mentioned that GOP caging was not limited to Ohio. Minority voters were also targeted in at least five other states, including Nevada, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
The voter suppression techniques discussed above were designed to reduce the number of Democrats on the the voter registration rolls prior to Election Day. Other techniques were aimed at suppressing the Democratic vote on Election Day and after. Next month we will cover such techniques as using hackable voting machines; rejecting provisional ballots; spoiling ballots with undervotes and overvotes; not counting absentee ballots; turning voters away for having the “wrong” ID; restricting voting equipment in Democratic areas; forcing voters in Democratic precincts to stand outside in the freezing rain for hours; intimidation and misinformation; denying access to election monitors and the press; fraud and irregularities in the count and recount; and violating federal law by destroying election records.